Anand Garg, Vice President – Head India Supply Chain, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd offers his observations on the first and second waves of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“When the first wave of the Covid-19 had struck in March 2020, there was no clarity. The question arose how do we respond? People could not afford to visit superspeciality as there was a complete transportation logjam. There was no clarity among doctors if they will be able to treat patients who need superspecialty services and if they can entertain patients and what are the safety protocols?” said Anand Garg, Vice President – Head India Supply Chain, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd, at the Elets Pharma Leadership Summit held on 29 -30 April 2021, with the theme ‘Embracing Digitalisation in Pharma: Adopting the New Normal’.
So, he added, “There was a chaotic environment in the initial 4-5 months and in the latter half of FY 21, pharma and other industries were able to figure out how to overcome the challenge. That is why 80-90% recoveries. are seen” Garg was at the panel discussion ‘Transcending to a Digital Supply Chain Mechanism: Scope and Challenges.” Fellow panelists were Hiren Dani, Head, Supply Chain, West Pharmaceutical; Vivek Mahendra, CIO Stratmed; Vickram Srivastava, Head of Planning – Supply Chain Management, Ipca Laboratories; Rashmi Ranjan Patra, CEO, Twenty First Century Pharmaceuticals Pvt Ltd; Bhavik Kumar, Chief Digital Officer, Akum Drugs & Pharmaceutical; and Vijayaraghvan Venugopal, CIO Fullife Healthcare Pvt Ltd.
Garg said, “In the wave-one, the infection spread in the span of time and the casualty versus in last one month time is 10X. So, the intensity at which it is happening right now is leaving no room to anticipate what is going to hit you next? Now, when you are encountered with that challenge, it breaks you into many pieces. Demand sensing goes for a toss because you are not in the country tracking PUS data which means you do not know what is going on at the tertiary level and you get a lot of noise across everywhere: state government, central government, stockists, retailers, a lot of interviews coming in; you do not know what is true demand, what molecules in are in demand, what molecules will save the humanity. I would say that the trial and error method is still adopted by the doctor community because the right medicines are not available. Because there is no demand sensing happening at the ground, the government has taken complete control for the first time in the Indian context on all the essentials that go into protecting citizens of this country like controlling Remdesivir, oxygen supply, bed availability. This shows why we cannot anticipate these kinds of growth of infection.”